Crunchy is a relatively new term. Many people have never heard of it. Generally “crunchy” gets thrown together with other terms such as: “granola”, “hippie” and “green”. Those terms will instantly give you the general idea of what Crunchy is but I want to go a bit deeper.
Crunchy is a lifestyle. Generally it refers to a style of parenting, but I don’t believe that you must have children in order to be crunchy. That being said, most crunchy practices have to do with children. Being crunchy means you do not go with the mainstream ideas just because everyone else is. Sure, you might practice some mainstream ideas; nobody is saying that mainstream is inherently evil. My point is that being crunchy means you research. Instead of just following what everyone else is doing, you research why people are doing those things, weighing the alternatives and the benefits to each side. After researching, then you make a decision.
Getting a bit more specific, because we aren’t just talking about what crunchy is but what a Crunchy mama is, a Crunchy mama is not just researching for herself but for her children as well. I think it’s safe to say that all mothers want what is best for their children. Most even spend hours researching topics regarding their children.
So what makes a Crunchy mom a Crunchy mom instead of just a researching mother? It really comes down to the final decisions she makes. To give you an idea of what a Crunchy mama might do (I use the word ‘might’ because being crunchy is not an all or nothing lifestyle) here are some things that I, a Crunchy mama, do: breastfeed, cloth diaper, co-sleep, natural products both for cleaning and personal products, alternative medicine, baby wear, avoids plastics. There are plenty more I could list but that gives a general idea of what a Crunchy mama looks like.
Whenever I talk about being Crunchy I do like to make a point of saying that being Crunchy is not an all or nothing lifestyle. I’m not 100% Crunchy nor is anyone else. There is always something you could be crunchier at. Also, just because one person does something one way, does not mean that you must do it that way. Nor do circumstances mean that you cannot be Crunchy. If you absolutely had to formula feed due to circumstances, (formula is generally viewed as not crunchy but if you must, then you must) it would not make you any less Crunchy. Got it? I’m saying there should be no “crunchier-then-thou” status.
I never planned o being a Crunchy mama. In fact when I had my first child, I thought my friends who cloth diapered or delayed vaccines were a bit extreme. Now, of course, I ask myself why I didn’t jump on the crunchy wagon sooner. The answer: I needed to be the one to come to the decision. I needed to actually look into things and see that there were reasons why people did such crazy crunchy things. When I realized that there were benefits to living like this, I had no problem making crunchy changes. Not to mention that my second child dealt with eczema and that forced me into the world of natural products. There is nothing like a medical condition to force you to look at things differently.
My second child is really the reason why I started into this crunchy world. Suddenly, I had to buy unscented/un-dyed laundry detergent. Suddenly, I needed to find alternatives to treat his eczema flare-ups because using a steroid cream everyday was not how I was going to do things. In a sense, I was forced into being crunchy but I am glad I was. After that initial push, I acquired a hunger to find the best way to keep my kids safe, healthy, and whole.
I am glad I’m a Crunchy mama. It might mean a bit more work. I have to wash diapers instead of buying them at the store and just throwing them away. I might make my own products instead of conveniently buy them. I have to read labels on food we buy instead of just throwing the cheapest item in the cart. However, I know that what I am doing makes a difference in the way my family lives. We are healthier for it. We save money because of it, at least in most areas. My children will grow up learning that the world isn’t to be taken for granted. Yes, I am glad that I am a Crunchy mama.
Brittany lives in Seattle with her husband and three children (a 5 year old, a 4 year old, and a 9 month old). She enjoys researching everything that involves living naturally and writes about her increasingly crunchy life at The Pistachio Project.